In 2017 more than 6,400 American workers suffered fatal injuries. Of these incidents, Latinos made up 19 percent of all fatal occupational injuries in the United States. While there are inherent risks on construction and extraction sites, Latino workers also face a bigger dilemma because they’re not fully aware of the rights and resources afforded to them through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and workers’ compensation, respectively.
Work Safety: An Uphill Battle for Latino Workers
According to a recent analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Latino workers over-populate some of the country’s most dangerous industries. In fact, nearly one in three workers in the construction and natural resource extraction industries is Latino. This is a 23.7 percent increase since 2015.
Safety challenges Latino workers face on-the-job:
- Many non-English-speaking Latino workers are especially vulnerable to injuries if they can’t read safety instructions or communicate effectively with their supervisors.
- Employers choose whether or not to report workers’ injuries to OSHA. Therefore, OSHA may be in the dark about the injuries and safety issues on job sites.
- More and more Latino workers are employed as contractors for smaller companies who are focused on efficiency often at the expense of worker safety.
There are additional challenges that ultimately affect worker safety, too. They include:
- Undocumented Latino workers who are injured on-the-job are fearful of employer retaliation.
- Some Latino workers don’t want to risk missing a paycheck by taking time off from work because of their injuries.
Workers’ Compensation: Every Injured Worker’s Right
We understand that there is a certain level of loyalty to our employers, and often that feeling is accompanied by feelings of guilt in bringing forth legal action on employers who provide us with our paychecks. However, employers also have a responsibility to their employees – they must follow safety regulations and do their best to prevent workplace accidents. When these responsibilities are neglected, workers have the right to seek legal recourse.
The attorneys at Reyes Browne Reilley provide a compassionate, unbiased source of support to injured workers. Our team advocates for our clients’ best interests and handles all aspects of the workers’ compensation claims process including, but not limited to the following:
- completing all injury-related reports and filing a workers’ compensation claim.
- handling all commutations and negotiations with the other side.
- gathering and presenting evidence.
- identifying alternative sources of income for the claimant.
- and gathering witness testimony.
Our firm offers free legal consultations to injured workers, in English and Spanish, where we evaluate the situation and explore the ways in which we can protect their rights to seek benefits. Call or contact us today at 214-526-7900 to schedule your appointment.